Semi active radar homing missiles and passive radar homing missiles are not all that widely used. These are old technologies that made way for active radar seeker decades ago.
A passive radar homing missile that homes in on the pencil beam an active radar missile uses to illuminate its target, or the pencil beam from the fighter aircraft illuminating a target for a SARH missile launch, would still be effective against ARMs and any fighters still using SARH missiles.
the rivets of the air intake fell out and damaged the engine blades!
Hahahaha... yeah... that is why 3rd and 4th and 5th gen planes crash all the time...
Lofting and guidance has improved? That's interesting. In which missile/s - Meteor? R-77-1?
They were working on lofted flight profiles on the R-27 family and teh R-33 family of AAMs in the 1970s....
But what's the need for multiple warheads that too in air to air missiles? Extra weight will reduce range of the missile.
A Verba SAM is about 10kgs in weight in total, an R-37M has a 60kg HE warhead currently. Developing a modified small missile optimised for low drag and glide performance means the R-37M could be launch on a lofted flight trajectory... say over 35km altitude to 300 or 400km range... as it flys over potential targets then missiles could be released on the way to accelerate down at the targets below them... remember the lofted original missile will be moving at mach 5-6 so instead of a small rocket motor these mini missiles might have ramjet motors that can be started up as they fall to manouver towards targets and accelerate to a useful attack speed. Using and IIR seeker it might spot aircraft on the ground and hit them so you could launch it at an enemy airfield for instance...
Or a group of enemy fighters or bombers approaching could be attacked as a group.
The closest thing to a multiwarhead missile was the starstreak in the 1980s. I don't think the USSR/Russia ever took it seriously though, with good reason. The starstreak's small missiles had such tiny warheads that they needed a direct hit. Meanwhile something like the R-37 has a very large blast radius.
You could call the new mini Pantsir missiles an attempt to engage multiple small targets but each is a separate weapon with a separate booster that can be launched individually... which is no so efficient in terms of fuel burn because a standard solid booster could launch all four missiles towards a group of four or more targets... but they clearly wanted lighter shorter ranged weapons for closer range engagement of drones.
The Starstreak is intended to hit one target with multiple penetrating warheads and seeks to be effective with cumulative damage of several penetrators in one hit.
What we are talking about is an upgrade to R-37Ms for use against cruise missiles... Cruise missiles don't fly side by side, and the R-37M is design to destroy a massive bomber so it has a very large warhead that is 60kgs. It is not big enough or powerful enough to take down more than one cruise missile at a time unless you use the nuclear armed model.
The intention of the multi missile design is to be able to loft a single missile towards a group of approaching threats... missiles or bombers or both and for the missile to fly to the target area and release mini missiles to each hunt down separate targets so one R037M could shoot down perhaps 5 incoming cruise missiles with the core missile perhaps taking out the bomber too.
It would be a more efficient way of dealing with large numbers of incoming munitions.